Tonight I’m thankful for the makeshift plumbing system in our now former apartment for breaking down and leaking sewage into our basement, justifying our move to a new space across the Place on the top floor in front of the Cathedral San Saveur, with two rooms instead of one and a view of the distant mountain ridge. I’m thankful for Alan for getting us here. I’m thankful that sometime in the 1970s he passed through Aix by chance, and wound up taking a painting class at some German artist’s studio. I’m thankful that Cezanne existed, without whom none of us would be sitting at this long candle-lit table in the little apartment downstairs, or be so knitted as we are.
I’m thankful that in the summer of 2011, Yohann, John’s son the baker came to Colorado and ended up at the Flying Fork Cafe in Peonia where he met Hilary and told her about a place called Marchutz. I’m thankful for the young parents in the early 1990s who decided to move to southern France for a year and in so doing discovered and subsequently enrolled at an art school on the Rue de Tholonet. I’m thankful for crappy car dealership website jobs and breakups. I’m thankful that a career in finance makes a living but not a life.
I’m thankful for friends who can cook. I’m thankful for turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, spiced sausage stuffing and red wine. I’m thankful for homemade chocolate mousse with fram-berries. I’m thankful for parling deux languages at once. I’m thankful for giggles.
I’m thankful for surprise children and precocious 8-year-olds. And although I wish I could tell a story better than a sub-par junior news reporter, I’m thankful for the genuine, unflinching curiosity of youth.
I’m thankful for the wisdom and wittyness of age. For crooked lower teeth and knee-slap grey-bearded hollering laughs. I’m thankful for dinner-table philosophers. I’m thankful for people who are interested in knowing the world and in loving it; thankful for the wondrous recognition of reality as it’s lived. I’m thankful for brain-food. I’m thankful for the people who’ve shown me, and now share in the recognition that works of art are vast seas before which to be humbled. I’m thankful for people who aren’t afraid to get wet.
I’m thankful for bisous and for hugs. For thoughts and for prayers. For email and for Skype. For love, both the brief and the enduring. For my big southern family back home, and for my name in a blessing. For the memory of being ten years old and falling asleep to the sound of the creek and the wind in the rhododendron out the window of that dark hallway room of the Montreat house, with the old doorknobs and family relics, dreaming up the future.
I’m thankful for chance.